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Is your tech delivering moments of service that your customers love? Or is it silently destroying your brand reputation just out of sight?

As the saying goes, “Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair”. Trust builds over time, so the trick is to find and eliminate anything that damages customer trust. When it comes to creating the kind of great moments of service that keep customers coming back, nothing can be left to chance. Continuous examination and improvement of the whole customer experience is essential to building and retaining trusting.

What breaks trust?

  • The service doesn’t work. High-availability services are stable-stakes. Customer expectations are for “always-on” services; they’re there when the customer needs it. Every time. Example: Imagine you’re on your way to a job interview. You’re driving in heavy traffic in an unfamiliar city. Suddenly, your Google Maps directions go offline.
  • Slow response when something goes wrong. A plodding response makes it look like you don’t care about the customer. Why should the customer trust a brand that doesn’t care about them?
  • Lack of transparency. When a customer has a problem and they don’t get a response, they assume nothing is happening. Customers want constant reassurance that somebody is actively working on fixing their problem. Example: You send a complaint email about the speed of your Internet service. You don’t get an automated acknowledgement email. What now? Look for a different email address? Pick up the phone?
  • A disjointed support experience. We’ve all been here: Having just given a customer service agent all your details and described the problem, they transfer you to another agent who asks the same questions.
  • Making it difficult to speak to a person. Digital channels are more cost-effective, and customers prefer them when everything is working well. But when things go wrong, customers want the comfort of knowing that they can speak to a human being—without waiting an hour in a call queue. When you hide away your service desk contact details, it adds friction and frustration to the customer experience—and erodes trust.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the key areas where trust is damaged, we can pinpoint solutions to boost trust…

Always-on services require autonomous IT operations

The expectation of always-on services means diagnosis and resolution needs to happen at digital-speed, not human-speed. If a technical issue is not spotted and fixed in seconds, expect trust damage and a flood of calls/emails. Always-on services are enabled by a combination of two things: resilient infrastructure with built-in redundancy, and autonomous IT operations management constantly patrolling infrastructure performance to apply real-time self-healing.

The service recovery paradox

People expect things to go wrong. It’s how you respond that counts. The service recovery paradox describes a scenario where something has gone wrong for the customer, and the response has been so fast and decisive that the customer is impressed. Impressed because of the brand’s ability to sort out problems, fast. They get the comfort of knowing that if something goes wrong in the future, it’ll get sorted quickly. They trust your support. By comparison, another brand represents an unknown. As a result, trust and loyalty in your brand are increased.

This is why you must have highly-tuned support processes in place which kick-in the second there’s a problem—either reported by the customer, or better still, detected and corrected automatically before customers are impacted.

Transparency means pro-active communication

Transparency means pro-active communication that anticipates the customer’s need for information: starting with an immediate acknowledgement of the customer’s request or issue. The biggest fear is that their request disappears into a black hole. Walk through the entire customer experience journey and assess the quality and frequency of communications. If in doubt, err on the side of over-communication.

Omnichannel service management solves the disjointed experience problem

Customers shouldn’t need to repeat the problem again and again to different agents and technicians. Omnichannel service management solves the problem by centralizing customer interactions—a single view of the customer spanning phone, email, SMS, social, live chat, chatbot and other channels. That means you need a service management solution that offers all these channels, plus a single central database. Otherwise, you’ll have to put a lot of effort into integrating these channels to provide a single view.

Make it easy to speak to a human

Solving this one is easy. Put your service desk number front-and-center where the customer is. If your digital channels provide a great experience, customers will go “digital first” by default—because there’s no queue there. If your digital channels aren’t quite good enough, apply continuous improvement and you’ll see a steady increase in digital adoption (and a corresponding drop in calls to the service desk)—leaving agents with more time for the customers who really do need to speak to a human.

If you take one thing away from this, it’s not to hide your service desk phone number.

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